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Wildlife

FieldfareThe Quarrymill Woodland Park is renowned and admired for its wildlife and plantlife. The birds of Quarrymill are mainly woodland and waterside species. Those living along the burn are the most fascinating to watch and are mainly grey wagtails, swallows, mallards, mandarin ducks with the occasional heron. There have recently been dippers nesting beneath one of the bridges and occasionally a kingfisher is seen, but this is a rare treat for visitors. There are a selection of typical woodland birds including tits, treecreepers, warblers and woodpeckers. One may also see corvids and raptors such as jays and jackdaws, with the occasional buzzard and kestrel.

There are many woodland animals in the Park and anyone walking quietly enough may catch sight of a roe deer, squirrel, rabbit, stoat, fox or mink. An unusual recent sight was a family of otters resting under one of the piers at night while the River Tay was unusually high.

The plant life of the area was recorded clearly in the 1844 Statistical Account for Scotland:

‘This was mainly due to a very good friend of the Parish compiling a comprehensive list of plants in the area along with other botanists'. Unfortunately, their list lives on but the names of the authors have, sadly, been forgotten. It was stated that ‘...the botany of the area cannot fail to be interesting from the number of rare plants to be found in the area'. One of these was Pyrola Uniflora, which is very rare and much sought after by Scottish botanists.

Agaricus Campestris, the common mushroom, grows in abundance in the Scone area, interspersed with the snuff box fungus, Bovista Nigrescens. In some areas of Scone, including Quarrymill, small quantities of Agaricus Oreases, which is a small pale mushroom that is usually known for growing in fairy rings. Other fungi to be found growing in the area include the highly poisonous Agaricus Semiglobatus, which is a grey-mottled mushroom and Agaricus Georgii, which is a large yellow mushroom frequently mistaken for Agaricus Campestris, but which from its tough qualitity is infinitely more inferior for the table. The differences are easily distinguished by its yellow-white gills and smooth, thick yellow stalk.

OrchidThe forest plantations of Scots Fir, oak and larch were also noted in 1844. Today the woodland area of the Park is split between ancient semi-natural woodland and long-established planted woodland. In 1750 Quarrymill is recorded as having one of the few natural origin woodlands in the vicinity of Perth. By 1860 the area to the north of the Annaty Burn was completely wooded, and the plantings were similar to those at the Scone Estate. This area is reported to comprise mixed broadleaf and conifer trees in 1902 and the area to the south of the burn is much patchier and is mainly planted with broadleaved trees. There were Scots Pine and beech trees planted just after World War II. The area is rich in its variety of trees and there are also ash, sycamore, birch, alder and gean. In addition, in a narrow strip on each side of the burn there is also elm, goat willow and crack willow. There is an unusually high number of elm trees in the Woodland Park, especially after the effects of Dutch elm disease.

The Woodland Park is popular with photographers and Robert Smith of Scone has captured its wildlife in his photographs over recent years.  His website, www.sconewildlife.co.uk, has excellent samples of his work, many depicting the varied wildlife to be found at Quarrymill.  The two photorgaphs on this page have been shown with his kind permission.